- If you were to make a list of the red wines coming out of France, Loire Valley reds would certainly come near the bottom; not because of quality, but for the fact it’s one of the more overlooked wine regions.
Loire reds have a tendency to be overshadowed by the whites from famed Sancerre, Vouvray, Pouilly Fume and Muscadet regions, and certainly don’t enjoy the prestige of reds coming out of Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Rhone.
- The proprietors of Claux Delorme Albane and Bertrand Michin run an estate called La Tour Saint Martin in Menetou-Salon, neighboring the Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume wine regions. The purchase of this small hillside vineyard in Valençay was quite the gamble for them, as even in France, the region is still fairly obscure.
- The Gamay brings the jammy fruit to the wine, Malbec the structure and grip, Cab Franc the earth and spice and Pinot Noir the acidity, red fruit and elegance.
- Every style of wine imaginable is produced in the Loire: red, white, rose, sweet, and sparkling. The region is 2nd only to the Champagne region in terms of French sparkling wine production.
- As you can see from the photo below, the Le Claux Delorme packs a fair amount of tartrates. Not to be confused with sulfites, tartrate crystals can resemble salt granules at the bottom of your wine glass or on the underside of a cork. In Europe, tartrates in a bottle of wine tend to be more common-place than in the U.S. and even encouraged, due to their presence being one of the indicators towards a more naturally made wine
- Valencay is one of the best kept secrets of the Loire. The region is small, compared to its neighbors, and is located in the Touraine district on the south bank of the Cher tributary of the Loire river. How knew that Cher had her own tributary!?!? You learn something new every day!!! :)
- Sauvignon Blanc dominates the white grape plantings in Valencay. Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Gamay and Pinot Noir dominate the reds.
- Like much of the rest of the Loire, Valencay is known as an agricultural region, and is infamous for its cheese which that bears its name.Valencay was the first region to have an AOC designation for two products: its goat cheese and its wine .
- Valencay was promoted to AOC status in 2004, after 34 years as a VDQS (Vin Délimité de Qualité Supérieure).
- The region is also famous for its 16th century chateau, whch was the home of Napoleon Bonaparte’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Talleyrand.
- The Loire is the longest river in all of France.
A beautiful balance between fruit and savory characters, with a nose of stewed strawberry, plum, forest floor and smoke. The palate skews more towards blackberry, olives, tree bark, walnut, and clove. Soft tannins and a medium-long finish. It almost reminds me of a Cotes du Ventoux. A perfect summer red.
A great introduction to Loire reds for people who have preconceived ideas about French wines, and have yet to spend any considerable amount of time exploring the Loire. Very approachable!
The obvious pairing would be to go with French cuisine, i.e. pate, duck, game, or charcuterie etc. Personally though, this wine isn’t taking itself too seriously, so I don’t think you need to take the pairing too seriously! The Le Claux Delorme would be great with hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill, and would really work well with the smoky flavors in just about any hearty dish.